Week 26 Putin’s War: A Bizarre Assassination in Moscow, a Nuclear Power Plant Held Hostage, and Ukraine Launches Possible First Offensive

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Vladimir Putin’s 3-day cakewalk, from Moscow to Kyiv, is now 26.5 weeks in.

The big news today is the possibility that Ukraine may launch an offensive in Kherson Oblast. We’ll be able to discuss it after the preliminary.

Political-Strategic Level

This level has seen a lot of activity. It is best to see it all together in order to get an idea of what is happening.

Bizarre Assassination

Darya Dugin was found by police in the rubble of a Moscow street. Dugin was a disinformation leader and active propagandist, following the example of her father.

It was chaos.

The eulogies weren’t very well-written.

Funeral of Darya, the piece de résistance

All the usual suspects made a lot of noise, declaring that this was an “escalation” and that Russia would provoke Russia into new and unspecified retaliation. (When cruise missiles are fired into randomly-placed apartment blocks, it is hard to find anything to increase the number of ). Nobody can answer the question of why anyone would target a third-tier Moscow grifter’s daughter.

As expected, the story ended. Smart money suggests that this is more likely to have been caused by a power struggle or business dispute with Ukraine.

EU Lifts Russian Ban on Tourists

Many EU member countries are pushing to ban Russian tourist visas. France, Germany, and other European countries are the principal opponents. They claim that Putin is not responsible for the war in Ukraine. Instead, they argue that all Russians are involved in it. This will reduce the number of Russian tourists and increase visa application waiting times.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNP) is a high-level game of chicken. Russia tried to take control of the ZNP from Ukraine’s grid, but Russia refused.

Money, Money, Money

Joe Biden authorized $3 billion in additional economic and defense assistance to Ukraine. Since the Russian invasion, $13.5 billion has been provided.

New Weapons in Action

The Vehicle-Agnostic, Palletized, ISR Rocket Equipment (or VAMPIRE) is one of the most intriguing weapons in the Ukraine aid package. The system can engage precision ground targets, drones, and fixed-wing aircraft.

This vendor created a fantastic video to showcase the system.

An interesting discovery was made on Russian-oriented social media platforms last Wednesday. Photos were taken of an AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (or HARM), that was found in the wreckage.

HARM is designed to destroy air defense radars.

Both sides were shocked when they learned that US and Ukrainian technicians had worked together to modify AGM-88 in order to make it compatible, we believe with MiG-29 fighters.

Operational Level

These videos are the latest in a series of videos that show the progression of the war. It shows the Russian occupation limits during the first 90 days of fighting between February 24th and May 25th.

This map shows the lines for the war’s first six months.

It is important to note that the front lines remain stable and that there are no territorial changes.

Crimea

Russian forces in Crimea were repelled in a new theater.

Sevastopol was the victim of drone attacks. This allows the Ukrainian SOF to operate quite freely in Crimea.

Kharkiv, Donbas

These frontlines remain largely unchanged from my last update. Although Russia made some small gains in Donbas they still need to be measured in the hundreds.

Kherson

The Ukrainian artillery has been bombarding Russian C3Is, logistics nodes, and logistic hubs for six weeks. You can check out my last update.

Let’s have a look at the theatre where operations are taking place to see what’s going on.

The Dnipro River (Dneiper River), is the crucial terrain.

These bridges cannot be passed, so all traffic crossing Dnipro must take a ferry.

Ukraine has been telegraphing an offensive in the region for two months. The Russians responded by moving troops from Donbas to positions north of the Dnipro.

Special forces and partisans from Ukraine were assassinating each other, adding to the unease.

Ukraine launched ground strikes today after an intense overnight artillery barrage and gained quick gains of over six miles.

This could be meaningful, or not. If it’s an opportunistic offensive, it will only inflict losses or introduce new combat units. It is designed to attract Russian attention, while Zaporizhzhia Oblast deals the actual blow.

I believe this will bring tangible benefits to Ukraine. Russian ammunition dumps in the theater will be destroyed.

We still don’t have a clear picture of Ukraine’s ability to coordinate infantry, armor artillery, and infantry. We are still waiting to see what happens in the next month.